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Gowan, Ronald. Ronald Gowan was created by “Victor Rousseau,” the pseudonym of Victor Rousseau Emmanuel (Jim Anthony, Ivan Brodsky, Clifford, Phileas Immanuel, King of Knaves, King’s Courier, Professor MacBeard, Isabel Marston, Dr. Martinus, Pennell, Shawm, Thorne, Mr. X), and appeared in “The Eye of Balamok” (All-Story, Jan. 17-31, 1920).
Two Englishmen set off across the Australian desert. Ronald Gowan is looking for gold, Sewell is looking for a Lost Race ruled over by a white queen. But what they find instead is a group of Australian natives, who capture Gowan and Sewell and turn them over to their masters, the Fendaks, who take them into the Hollow Earth. The Fendaks have reached what the critic E.F. Bleiler describes as the “sword and ray gun stage of cultural evolution.” They are hostile and would kill Gowan but for the eagle tattoo on his arm. The Fendak venerate several animals and reptiles as totemic creatures, and the eagle is one of them. As it happens, there are no “eagle men” left alive among the Fendaks, which is a problem, since Princess Hita, a serpent woman, is supposed to marry an eagle man. More, according to prophecy, if an outsider marries a serpent woman, the Fendaks will prosper. Hita is young, beautiful, and blonde, and Gowan has no objections to the marriage.
However, Hita’s young sister Thafti has followers who believe that she, not Hita, deserves the throne. Civil war follows. Dinosaurs are used to eat people, flying suits are used to get around the land of the Fendaks, light and dark bombs are used to kill people, and in the end Gowan, much older, returns to the surface to await a summons to return to the land of the Fendaks.
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